Where Does The Bible Get Its Authority As The Word Of God?
When we consider the claim that is made concerning the Bible, it is extraordinary. A Being with no beginning who is transcendent of time, space, and matter, is communicating with human beings on earth. He claims that He knows all things and in certain places in the Bible, He is telling us about things that have yet to happen. What is the purpose of God’s forth telling?
The premise is really quite simple. If I want you to believe that I am God and know all things, I tell you things that will happen over the course of history. I communicate these worlds to faithful men who will record my predictions and then preserve and protect my words through every generation of people on earth.
This is an often misunderstood principle of God and the Bible, His ability to communicate with us and preserve His words over time.
Many people have a difficult time accepting that the Bible is coming to us today, uncorrupted. This is because all that we know on earth is that men lie, about everything. Stories that are told and retold are always corrupted in the retelling of the story and the copying of the text that tells the story.
If we will stop for a moment and consider who this is that makes these claims and what He is capable of, it is really not that hard at all to believe that God can do these very things.
A Being who possesses the technology, power, and knowledge to construct this immense universe and ensure that it operates as well as it does, for nearly 14 billion years, certainly has the power to do anything else He might want to accomplish.
You can see where my line of logic is going. This unlimited God that we are describing in the Bible, has the ability to ensure that the words we have in our Bible’s today, is exactly what He wants us to have. There is no possibility that any man could supersede the authority of the God who created this universe. If we can believe the first line of the Bible: “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we can believe that this God can do anything.
Prophecy Is The Instrument For Us To Confirm The Bible
The primary authority of the Bible comes from its stated evidentiary proof that resides within: The affirmation of fulfilled Prophecy. It was by the prophetic word God intended that man would be able to validate the words of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures as from God, authoritative, accurate, and reliable.
The Purpose And Provability Of Prophecy
From eternity, God had already known every event that would take place and each specific act that He was going to do. This is what makes the Lord—God, He knows all things before they will happen because He has already seen each event before they occur. There is nothing that the Lord must learn, nor is it possible that anything can be hidden from Him.
Known to God from eternity are all His works. ~Acts 15:18
The preeminent purpose of all Bible Prophecy is to demonstrate in the realm of linear time, that God has already seen all the events that will take place. When He speaks, He does so as though all the things He describes have already happened. In eternity, nothing is future; everything has already come about. When God speaks of future events, they are only future for us who live within time. No event is outside of the knowledge of God, and He is not predicting the future. When God speaks a word of prophecy, He is simply stating what has already taken place.
…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did… ~Romans 4:17
In our determination for whether or not the writers of the Bible have told the truth, we must consider and evaluate the prophecies that are such a large part of these ancient scriptures. It is my opinion that these predictions are a compelling basis for concluding that these men have diligently written truthful narratives. As this chapter proceeds, you will see examples of ancient prophecies that were written by a men—to whom God has imparted knowledge. In every case, these men possess no unique physical or mental qualities that would set them apart from other men. It is apparent that these individuals were chosen by God because of their hearts. These men were used because of their willingness to receive the words of God and transmit them to others—accurately and precisely in the manner that God intended.
Perhaps it is due to a misunderstanding in the true purpose of the prophetic scriptures of the Bible that so many people fail to take them seriously. Maybe it is a lack of teaching by those who should be instructing others—regarding the importance of knowing the ancient scriptures. In any event, long before Jesus arrived in Bethlehem as a baby, a Messiah was promised to the world by God. The body of evidence regarding these prophetic predictions, are one of the most compelling proofs for the authenticity of the New Testament Scriptures.
The Test Of A Prophet
It was the intent of God that by fulfilled prophecy, we would understand that the source of the words contained in the Bible, are from God, not from man.
And if you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?” —when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not listen to him. ~Deuteronomy 18:21-22
The test for whether a person is a prophet of God is determined by the fulfillment of their words. If any word or part of the prophecy fails, the person who spoke the prediction is called a false prophet; and no one should listen to them. If, however, the words that are spoken in each of these prophecies come to pass exactly as they were written, then we have confidence that God is the original source of these predictions.
Isaiah continues His description of a most unlikely Savior, by his prophecy of rejection that will be an emblem of the Messiah’s ministry.
He is…rejected by men… ~Isaiah 53:3b
Jesus Fulfills Isaiah’s Prophecy
The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” ~Matthew 27:21-22
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. ~Matthew 19:20-22
How Did Isaiah Know Messiah Would Be Rejected?
The fact that Isaiah could describe the Messiah as rejected, 700 years before Jesus comes to Jerusalem and is refused by the leaders of Israel, is remarkable. According to all that has been written about His arrival, it is clear that the Messiah should have been widely received. The reality that Jesus was rejected, serves as compelling evidence that this prophecy is credible. Because all of Isaiah’s 131 prophecies of the Messiah, are also so unlikely, and Jesus perfectly fulfilled every one, we have confidence that Jesus is the person that these predictions were written for.
One of the primary objectives in seeking to persuade a person that your point of view is correct, is by presenting compelling evidence to support your assertion.
When it comes to the Messiah that God will send into the world, He tells us ahead of time; “He will be rejected.” This is not to say that everyone shall reject Him, but a large majority will. If the entire premise of the Old Testament is to prepare the world for the arrival of the Savior, it would be reasonable to assume that He will be accepted. The entire point of writing 400 prophecies that will identify the person that you want the world to know, is to cause their minds to receive Him.
The fact that Isaiah describes the coming Messiah as rejected by those He comes to save, places all of the prophecies that God gave us, in great jeopardy. Let us imagine that just one of the 400 predictions, does not happen as God said that it would. According to the Bible, the criteria for what constitutes a valid prophecy, is whether or not it comes true. If any part of the prophecy fails, or if it does not happen—precisely as it was written, then God instructs us to ignore all of the words of the prophet who said it.